Saturday, February 25, 2006

First Impressions - Conviction

In one of the most innovative promotion used by television network, NBC has put up their new show, , for free download thru iTunes a couple weeks before the show airs on its own network. It will be interesting how this endeavor works out for the network as I assume they will take a hit in revenue because I doubt advertisers are not lining up to buy time on a show that people can download without commercial for free. Plus I bet NBC is also picking up the bandwidth cost for the download. And will people show up to watch the second episode when they saw the pilot whenever they saw fit or be willing to drop $1.99 to buy the next episodes on iTunes?

Since I’m a sucker for gimmicks and free download that won’t get me sued, I went ahead and watched the show even though I’m not the biggest fan of procedurals that don’t feature , not that I’m entirely sure which Law & Order show he’s currently on. Since the show is from the creator of that franchise, Conviction could have been easily been named Law & Order: Grey’s Anatomy but instead of attractive, young doctors, we have attractive, young lawyers with both show focusing as much on character development as much as they focus on their cases. Much like the doctor show, Conviction starts off with one of the lawyers waking up from a one night stand except it didn’t turn out the stranger turned out to be the dude’s boss.

The dude in question showing up on his first day on the job is played by , in his first major role. And much like many of the other actor, he has a guest appearance on one of the Law & Orders on his IMDB page. , who was in the cast of one of the shows, resumes her role of Alexandra Cabot for this show. Maybe she will enlist the help of Ice-T in the future. (Little Black Book) plays someone who’s been in the office for a while but just got her first trial that naturally doesn’t go too well. J. August Richards of fame dusts off Gunn circa the Wolfram & Hart days with the super sized brain for his cocky Billy who is more the glad to mention how he’s never lost a case. To fill the token hot chick quota there is Milena Govich, last seen as the escort who scammed Kenny on , who is apparently the office bicycle.

Then there is , who is the poor man’s Skeet Ulrich, who in turn is the poor man’s Johnny Depp, as the office playboy. It befuddles me how this dude can still get work, especially as a playboy, he can’t act and I’ve never met a chick that finds him remotely attractive. Filling out the cast is who many of you won’t remember as love interest in Crossroads. And after watching Conviction, if you’re lime me, you may not remember from the show either because I’m having trouble remember his character.

Okay now I’m going to get into some spoilers, so if you haven’t seen the episode yet, you may want to skip the rest of this post.

The show did a relatively good job at finding a balance between furthering character development and telling the story of the trials that were going on in the episode. And the major storyline with the drug dealer trial was very well done even though it was pretty obvious when the new guy told the random dude on the phone where they were having dinner that someone was getting shot. The show also did a good job balancing the humor, like with Nicholson’s debacle of a trial, and the more seriousness of the death of the DA. And they did a very good job with the music selection too having David Grey’s Alibi playing over a pivotal scene.

Verdict: As I said earlier, I’m not the biggest fan of lawyer shows and I’d like to think I have better things to do on Friday. But if Ice-T ever makes a cross-over appearance, I’ll be sure to set my VCR. Or maybe they should just add the next best thing to the cast by bringing in or , that would be must see TV for me.


Friday, February 24, 2006

I Thought I Needed a Nia Long

There have been a couple of videos that have caught my eye lately so I though I’d give them some love since the death of Musical Television left a void for a forum on the art form. I advise you to watch them first (the links to the video are the bold headers, inside the post will lead you to iTunes where you can buy the song and in some cases the video itself) before you read my reviews if you don’t want me to spoil things.

Kanye West - Touch the Sky

Say what you want about his music or outspokenness, but is one of the most entertaining video artists today. His latest venture is a take off of Evil Knievel’s famous jump across the Grand Canyon with a nod to Kanye’s most famous line about leaving your chick for a white girl. The white girl in question in this video is ; insert your own Hepatitis C joke here. Kanye even got to appear in the video even though he rhymed her name with “sheets I skeeted on.” Maybe, Nia, much like my censor, doesn’t know what “skeeted” mean (and for you old people out there, it is very, very dirty). And not one to pass up beating a dead horse, Kanye even alludes to his Bush comments too. You can also check out my album review here - You Gotta Love it Though, Somebody Still Speaks From His Soul.

Death Cab for Cutie - Crooked Teeth

The main reason why this is entertaining is the obvious Sledgehammer comparison. Sadly there are no dancing chickens in ’s update. You can also check out my album review here - A Melody Softly Souring Through My Atmosphere.

Santana - Just Feel Better

Now this one didn’t make too much sense and had to watch it a couple time to see if I missed something. The video almost seems like a reject idea from ’s era. So let me get this straight, chick gets groped by, meets dude in the principal’s office, goes with dude to a party, party gets busted, dude dies in car crash, chick flees back home and is welcomed with open arms from mom, then everything is back to normal at the end as chick is back in the class of the teacher that groped her. Did Steven Tyler tell that as long as they put a token hot chick in as little amount of cloths as possible, no one will question the lunacy of the premise? Plus since he’s Steven Tyler, he makes out with a chick in a bar that has nothing to do with the other story. And I could be wrong, but I think the token hot chick is . You can also check out my album review here - Your Fire Fills My Soul.

Cat Power - Living Proof

I have absolutely no comment on this video by . In fact if you figure out what’s going on in this video, please pass that information onto me. I’m sure there’s some artsy undercover here, but it just went over my head. Oh, if you are a religious fanatic, you may want to skip this video. You can also check out my album review here - No Wind or Waterfall Could Stop Me.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Going Back to Cali

This week, both and trembled in fear of dudes singing karaoke and chicks skating around a track again and again so there is no Toss Up this week. Lost will be back next week as Claire finally decides to try to get her memory after seemingly not caring for the past month on the island. Of course now she has a psychologist at her disposal with the arrival of Libby. And considering they are putting off a Libby-centric show, one can expect it will be a biggy much like the last flashback of the original cast with Hurley and the introduction of the numbers. What’s in store tailie? Many have speculated she is an Other, which I doubt. I still lay hope that she’s the person Jack’s wife left him for, but I think she too will have a major connection to the numbers and Hurley’s nut house buddy, Leonard.

We are still about three weeks until the next new Veronica Mars, the one with the chick from Get This Party Started Laguna Beach (see the press release - Toss Up 10 1/2). Next week (3/1) is another repeat of Ahoy Mateys, the one where Mac inadvertently tries to pick Vice Principal Clemmon’s kid.

But the big new in the world of Neptune, is that I will me making a visit this week. I’ve been racking my brain recently about what I should ask. Should I slyly bring up that I’m an award winning actor? Should I make a joke upon meeting creator Rob Thomas? Should I bring up if I get to meet Kristen Bell? Or the better question is if I can keep from staring at her after seeing those pictures? But anyways. I just got my itinerary for the 1st Veronica Mars Blogger Press Day and here is what my day will look like for next Monday:

9:15 am - Meet PR escorts in the lobby.

9:30 am - A Veronica Mars production van will take everyone to the set.

10:00 am - Observe Veronica Mars production scenes.

1:00 pm - Crew lunch with Rob Thomas.

2:30 pm - Depart set.

Now my plane doesn’t take me back to Ohio until 10:50 so maybe they will take pity on me and le me hang around the set a little longer, but I’m not holding my breathe. And just a heads up, because of the trip, there will be no posts on Sunday or Monday and I will return Tuesday with a few stories and pictures and will have a couple updates throughout the week, so keep your eye out for that.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Driving Further From the Heartache

9th Ward Pickin' Parlor - Shawn Mullins

Many people will remember for being the only person who name dropped in a Lullaby. Or maybe you just remember the video for that song because it featured an under aged in a bikini. Either way, the gravely voiced singer seemed to slip back into obscurity just as fast as he escaped from it. But even though he has fallen of most people’s radars, Mullins still continues to release music including the new album, .

The album as a whole sounds as if it could have been recorded long before the advent of the CD, or cassettes and 8-trackd for that matter. Except for Beautiful Wreck that sound like something that should have been included on ’s album, and that’s not a good thing. The opener, Blue as You envisions sitting on a porch in a rocker with your guitar while watching the sunset. Lay Down Your Swords, Boy sound like a missing track from the .

Sometime the old time music doesn’t work out too well as in Cold Black Heart where Mullins utilizes a fiddle but still isn’t able to pull off the country song. Find Love sounds like a poor attempt at a Hawaiian folk song and hearing a folk song about going to Alaska while playing the banjo just seems wrong on Talkin’ Goin’ to Alaska Blues. All Fall Down sounds as if Mullins was re-imagining as a bluesman. The album ends with an actual old song, a remake of House of the Rising Sun an obvious chose when the song is about a place in New Orleans and this album’s title alludes to the area. Only the great thing about the original is the driving organ which is virtually gone from the new version and replaced by some soft acoustic strumming. The song, much like the album is a good idea that just doesn’t hit all the right notes.

Song to Download - Lay Down Your Swords, Boys

9th Ward Pickin’ Parlor gets a Terror Alert Level: Elevated [YELLOW] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

My Dinner with Dr. Abbott

Last night I had the privilege of going to a dinner for Breast Cancer survivors, for which my mother is one and brought me along, with guest speaker whom many of you may know as Dr. Harold Abbott of . His mother-in-law just happens to run the local chapter that my mother belongs to and wrangled him to speak at their yearly dinner at the fancy restaurant in the area. In fact, for those that didn’t realize, his real life wife, Nancy, was also on the show in the early years as Colin Hart’s mother.

Nancy was up first, as she was the hometown girl, then introduced her husband as “the star of… I’m mean one of the stars of Everwood” to which Tom stepped to the mike and clarified “I am THE star of Everwood” and got a good laugh. Tom is very much like hus characher without the air of arrogance that Dr. Abbott tends to have (well except for his opening line). He started talking about a neighbor he had when he first moved to Utah, where the show is filmed, and that he was diagnosed with cancer after moving from Utah to Cincinnati. His buddy then later asked Tom to participate with him in a Ride for Life that is put on by Lance Armstrong yearly in Austin. Tom has even been back since even bringing Nancy back once and had a funny story about how, at the end of the race there are two routes, one for survivors and the second for other rider and he and his wife accidentally finished where the survivors were supposed to go. Tom also talked about his own mother his mother own fight and how on the day of her surgery he was filming a scene where his on-screen wife was going threw a very similar operation. She is now doing fine and he even sent the yellow flower he got after going down the wrong route for the Ride for Life event.

Nancy then came back up to the podium and read the Manifesto of the Lance Armstrong Foundation:

We believe in life.
Your life.
We believe in living every minute of it with every ounce of your being.
And that you must not let cancer take control of it.
We believe in energy: channeled and fierce.
We believe in focus: getting smart and living strong.
Unity is strength. Knowledge is power. Attitude is everything.
This is the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

We kick in the moment you’re diagnosed.
We help you accept the tears. Acknowledge the rage.
We believe in your right to live without pain.
We believe in information. Not pity.
And in straight, open talk about cancer.
With husbands, wives and partners. With kids, friends and neighbors. And the people you live with, work with, cry and laugh with.
This is no time to pull punches.
You’re in the fight of your life.

We’re about the hard stuff.
Like finding the nerve to ask for a second opinion.
And a third, or a fourth, if that’s what it takes.
We’re about getting smart about clinical trials.
And if it comes to it, being in control of how your life ends.
It’s your life. You will have it your way.

We’re about the practical stuff.
Planning for surviving. Banking your sperm. Preserving your fertility. Organizing your finances. Dealing with hospitals, specialists, insurance companies and employers.
It’s knowing your rights.
It’s your life.
Take no prisoners.

We’re about the fight.
We’re your champion on Capitol Hill. Your advocate with the healthcare system. Your sponsor in the research labs.
And we know the fight never ends.
Cancer may leave your body, but it never leaves your life.
This is the Lance Armstrong Foundation.
Founded and inspired by one of the toughest cancer survivors on the planet.

Then came the question and answer which focused mostly on the show although Tom didn’t really say anything that anyone with an interne connection probably didn’t already know like Everwood will be returning back to Monday on March 27th with a two hour episode. He did talk briefly about the network merger and didn’t sound albeit too hopefully that Everwood would be back next season, but suggested heading over to the WB website and leave a message on one of their message boards expressing your support of write the network for those without the internet (this was an older crowd). Also when asked if Nancy would reprise her role as Mrs. Hart, she said they had written her into an episode about AA and was asked to come back by the casting directors but the producers ended up nixing the idea and most likely we will never see her character again.

I didn’t think to bring a camera to take pictures of the event, but if my mom passes along any that were passed along to her, I’ll go ahead and put them up here. For more information on breast cancer or the Lance Armstrong Foundation click on the following images:

Lance Armstrong Foundation

Sunday, February 19, 2006

The Closest You Ever Came to Being Black Was Watching the Cosby Show


In about two weeks Crash will do battle for Best Motion Picture of the Year at the Oscars as well as awards for acting, writing and directing for it’s powerful portrayal of race relations in Los Angeles over two days near Christmas. And by powerful, I mean extremely boring. Basically what the movie boils down to is two hours of white liberal guilt, the movie was written and directed by , writer of Million Dollar Baby, and needless to say the liberal movie academy ate the movie up giving it six nominations.

The movie starts off with a car crash involving
(NFL Playoff Commercials) and (Dracula 2000). Cheadle is really shaken up and goes off to la-la land before we head back to yesterday. I have to say the going back in time has become the most annoying plot devise currently used today in movies and television. There should really be a moratorium on using it. What’s worse in this movie, and this may ruin it a little, but not as much as watching it played off ruined the movie, but they never come back to this crash later in the movie unless I fell asleep and completely feel asleep.

Early on we are also introduced to two black men,
(of the wrongfully shelved Love Money) and Chris Bridges (who you may, or more likely not know as ) who complain how a white woman clutches her husband as they come closer only to carjack the couple. And knowing Bridges is a rapper in real life only makes his soliloquy against the genre cheesier. The couple in question is (Miss Congeniality 1 & 2) and (Encino Man), who is the District Attorney who is mad that being robbed by a couple black dudes may hurt retaining the black vote in the next election.

There’s also yet another good cop,
(Mr. Reece Witherspoon), bad cop, (Herbie: Fully Loaded) tandem who pull over a black couple just for fun and the black dude, (Mary J. Blige’s Be Without You video) just stands there and lets Dillon molest his wife, (The Chronicles of Riddick). Just for fun, Haggis even threw in families full of Hispanics, Asians, and Arabs just so no one would feel left out. Well except the Indians are once again forgotten. At least you still have baseball teams that make light of your racial stereotypes.

Each of the characters eventually intertwines with each other showing up in other storylines much like a Lost flashback. But much like this season of Lost, it all becomes ho-hum when you see this happening mostly because you see it coming a mile away. Speaking of Lost, be sure to look out for Jin who makes a blink and you miss it cameo. Also don’t forget to look out for
(The Tony Danza Show), in the most interesting scene in the whole film, as a movie producer who complains that an actor isn’t “black” enough, Priceless.

Crash gets a Terror Alert Level: Guarded [BLUE] on my Terror Alert Scale.